Chemical Ecology of Microtheca ochroloma

2003 Annual Report for GS02-019

Project Type: Graduate Student
Funds awarded in 2002: $3,057.00
Projected End Date: 12/31/2004
Matching Non-Federal Funds: $6,037.00
Grant Recipient: University of Florida
Region: Southern
State: Florida
Graduate Student:
Major Professor:
Susan Webb
University of Florida
Major Professor:
Dr. Marilyn Swisher
University of Florida

Chemical Ecology of Microtheca ochroloma


The focus of this year’s work has been on Objective 3. Olfactory cues are belived to be important for host plant finding by Microtheca ochroloma. A series of laboratory experiments currently underway will demonstrate the extent to which this beetle uses olfaction to find host plants.

Objective 1 (as stated in last year’s report) has been reconsidered based on a more complete review of available information. Work on that objective will be completed this year.

Objectives/Performance Targets

1. To demonstrate how temperature and daylength inlfuence the dormancy of Microtheca ochroloma

2. To determine if proximity to old feeding sites determines locatio of new beelte outbreaks

3. To determine what chemical cues (plant-insect and insect-insect)active beetles use to locate host plants.


3. Using a y- tube olfactometer setup, we are currently testing the responses of M. ochroloma to intact host plants, insect- and mechanically-damaged host plants, host plants presented alone and with non-host plants and host plants with conspecific adults and larvae.

2. In December 2003, we ran some preliminary marking field marking trials in anticipation of fall field experiements.

1. In a field experiment planned for later this spring (approximately April/May 2004) we will place active adult beetles in cages with host plants and observe their feeding, mating, and oviposition activity in response to increasing day length and temperature.


Susan Webb
Associate Professor
University of Florida
Department of Entomology and Nematology
PO Box 110620
Gainesville, FL 32611-0620
Office Phone: 3523921901
Rose Koenig
Organic farmer
Rosie's Organic Farm
1717 SW 120th Terrace
Gainesville, FL 32607
Office Phone: 3523311804
Mickie Swisher
Associate Professor
University of Florida
PO Box 110310
Gainesville, FL 32611-0310
Office Phone: 3523922202